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Bud Light parent co. selling beer brands after losing $350 million amid conservative boycott

A glass beer. (Jenna Eason/Charlotte Observer/TNS)
August 12, 2023

In the midst of persisting Bud Light boycotts, Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB-InBev) is parting ways with eight of its craft beer brands, handing them over to the Canadian cannabis heavyweight, Tilray Brands.

The deal, estimated to be worth $85 million, promises to reshape not only the profiles of both companies but potentially the larger brewing sector in the West.

For AB-InBev, the decision to sell eight of its craft beer brands seems in line with a pivot away from an extensive craft beer portfolio. Following the sale, the brewing behemoth will retain only 12 craft beer brands.

This transition also comes amidst major challenges faced by the iconic beer company, particularly surrounding Bud Light. Bud Light has faced backlash and a subsequent decline in sales amid a series of conservative boycotts after the company partnered with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney.

In May, Modelo Especial captured Bud Light’s place as the top-selling beer in the United States, as Bud Light sales plummeted.

In response to plummeting sales and persisting boycotts, Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth told customers that the company recognized that “the discussion surrounding our company and Bud Light has moved away from beer, and this has impacted our consumers, our business partners, and our employees.”

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Whitworth has claimed that the company will “focus on what we do best” by focusing on “brewing great beer and earning our place in moments that matter to you.”

Tilray, primarily known as a cannabis company, will soon take over popular names such as Shock Top, Breckenridge Brewery, Blue Point Brewing Company, 10 Barrel Brewing Company, Redhook Brewery, Widmer Brothers Brewing, Square Mile Cider Company, and the recently discontinued Hiball Energy. The transaction between the two companies will extends beyond brands; employees, breweries, and associated brewpubs will also transfer ownership, according to The Daily Caller.

The acquisition comes at a transformative time for Tilray, which began its journey focusing on cannabis and is rapidly broadening its horizons in the craft brewing industry. This new deal alone is expected to increase Tilray’s beer production output from 4 million to a robust 12 million cases annually.

Speaking about the acquisition, Tilray’s CEO and chairman, Irwan D. Simon, remarked, “This solidifies our national leadership position and share in the U.S. craft brewing market and marks a major step forward in our diversification strategy.”

Simon also highlighted the company’s intent to be a change agent in the sector, hinting at leveraging its position to introduce THC-based products upon federal cannabis legalization.

This news article was partially created with the assistance of artificial intelligence and edited and fact-checked by a human editor.